The Scottsboro Boys Trial

1183 Words5 Pages
During the 1930’s, racism and prejudice against black people was very prevalent in everyday life. They were segregated from white people in almost all aspects of society; bathrooms, public transportation, schools, housing and even jails were segregated. Black people were treated as second class citizens, beneath even the poorest of white people.Black people were not the only victims; women were limited in everything they did. Women were meant to sit around, look pretty, and do domestic work around the house. Some women were happy to do this while others like Scout, a character in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, dreaded the day that this would become her life. To Kill a Mockingbird brings to light the racist and sexist attitudes of the 1930’s…show more content…
Tom Robinson’s trial is a prime example of this. The case was lost before the trial even began, and Tom, an innocent man, was not given a fair chance at freedom. In the South, women and black men were never selected to sit on juries, this is proven historically using the case of the Scottsboro Boys. In the Scottsboro Boys trial, no men of color were brought in for jury selection, and the papers had actually been tampered with after the first trial to try and avoid the involvement of the Supreme Court. Already, Robinson did not have a jury of his peers, as guaranteed by the Constitution just like the Scottsboro Boys. Tom knew how bad it would look if he was caught with Mayella, which was why he ran away from the situation with the Ewells, even though he was innocent. He was terrified and knew something bad was coming. The prosecute questioned Tom about these particular actions. “‘Scared of arrest, scared you’d have to face up to what you did?’ ‘No uh, scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.’ ‘Are you being impudent to me boy?’ ‘No suh, I didn’t go to be.’” (Lee 265). Tom Robinson had confessed to being scared to be in court and cooperated by always speaking the truth, because he did not want to be put to death for a crime he did not commit. What was worse was that the prosecuting lawyer had been rude, saying that Robinson was disrespectful because of his response; while Tom had in reality had been open and honest and the farthest thing from disrespectful the attorney may have said this as a tactic to portray Tom as a stereotypical black person. Everyone in town knew from the beginning that there was no chance of Mr. Robinson getting acquitted , at least not in the first case, but it did not stop Atticus from trying. Reverend Sykes told the children to not be as confident in Atticus’ success as they “ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man…”
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